How To Become a Wedding Photographer in 7 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 9, 2022 | Published March 17, 2022

Updated May 9, 2022

Published March 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Wedding photographers play an important role in memorializing the celebration of a couple's union. These professionals take pictures of a wedding's ceremony, reception, venue and guests. Understanding the role of a wedding photographer can help you decide if this career path is right for you. In this article, we explain what a wedding photographer is, provide a detailed list of steps for how to become one and discuss the salary and job outlook that this career offers.

What is a wedding photographer?

A wedding photographer is a professional who takes pictures at wedding celebrations. They typically capture images of memorable details throughout the entire wedding day. For example, a wedding photographer might photograph the moment when partners first see each other or exchange vows and rings during the ceremony. These professionals are in charge of meeting with the engaged couple to plan their photographic strategy. Some of their responsibilities include coordinating photo sessions and group photos with the wedding party. A wedding photographer documents a marriage celebration through candid photos and composed formal pictures.

Related: Photographer Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

What does a wedding photographer do?

A wedding photographer is responsible for taking pictures during pre-ceremony preparations, the wedding ceremony and the reception. They capture images of the married couple, their family members and the wedding party. These professionals also edit wedding pictures to fix any lighting errors and make any requested changes. Some other duties of a wedding photographer often include:

  • Marketing their services to attract clients

  • Negotiating photography fees

  • Drafting contracts with clients

  • Traveling to various wedding locations

  • Maintaining and repairing photography equipment

  • Providing backgrounds and props for photoshoots

  • Selecting the appropriate photography equipment for an event

  • Preparing albums, files and prints for their clients

Related: Most Interesting Jobs in the Wedding Industry

How to become a wedding photographer

Here's a list of seven steps that you can follow when pursuing a career as a wedding photographer:

1. Learn about photography

The first step to pursuing a career as a wedding photographer is by learning about photography. Consider reading blog articles from other wedding photographers and attending workshops held by local photographers. You might even take an online course in photography to help you build your skill set. Be sure to familiarize yourself with different technologies, such as various camera lenses and editing software.

2. Network with other photographers

Try communicating with professionals in the wedding photography industry. Consider using social media or in-person networking events to develop these relationships. You might ask other wedding photographers about the equipment they use or the strategies they rely on to find clients. This can help you find a mentor or gain valuable insight into pursuing a career as a wedding photographer.

3. Become an assistant photographer

Start working as an assistant photographer for engagement and wedding photoshoots. This provides you with the opportunity to gain practical experience and learn from other wedding photographers. You may contact photographers in your area and ask if you can work as their assistant.

4. Invest in photography equipment

After spending some time working as an assistant photographer, you may start investing in your own photography equipment. This can help you when you become an independent wedding photographer. Research the basic equipment you might use as a photographer, such as cameras, lenses and tripods. Be sure to read the instructions for your equipment so you know how to use it.

5. Practice your photography skills

Practice your photography skills by taking pictures of your friends and family members. You may even contact friends or acquaintances who are engaged. This can help you develop your client base and practice your photography in situations where you feel comfortable.

6. Create a portfolio

Develop a portfolio that showcases your best work. Consider including pictures from your practice photoshoots with friends and family members. You may update your portfolio as you continue working and taking high-quality pictures. Be sure to create a portfolio that reflects your skill level and photography techniques.

7. Advertise your services

Once you feel comfortable with your skills, you may begin advertising your photography services. Consider starting a website that highlights your portfolio and lists your prices. You may also create social media profiles to promote your wedding photography services.

Related: How To Start a Photography Business: 9 Things You Need To Know

Salary and job outlook for a wedding photographer

Your salary as a wedding photographer may depend on a variety of factors, including your level of work experience and client base. Although Indeed doesn't have specific salary information for wedding photographers, they have information for all photographers, regardless of their specific focus. The current national average salary for photographers is $39,819 per year. Wedding photographers typically make between $40,000 and $60,000 each year.

While there isn't career outlook information for wedding photographers specifically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of all photographers to grow 17% through 2030. This rate is much faster than average for all occupations. The BLS specifies that the desire for portrait photographs may drive an increase in the employment of photographers. These projections show a demand for professionals familiar with taking pictures of people, alluding to the continued demand for wedding photographers.

Related: 10 Jobs in Photography That Pay High Salaries

Skills needed to become a wedding photographer

Below are some skills that wedding photographers often have:

  • Communication: Wedding photographers often use their communication skills to relay important instructions to their clients when taking their pictures. This allows them to express their ideas for a photo and achieve the desired results.

  • Active listening: Active listening skills help wedding photographers give their full attention to their clients. They rely on these skills to understand the requirements that a couple has for their wedding pictures.

  • Time management: Because wedding photographers often adhere to a strict schedule, they may rely on their time management skills to help them stay organized. This skill allows them to plan and prioritize tasks to ensure they fulfill their client's wishes.

  • Organization: A wedding photographer may work with several clients at the same time, so it's often beneficial for them to have superior organizational skills. This allows them to keep track of the individual needs of their clients and any upcoming wedding dates.

  • Creativity: Wedding photographers often rely on their creativity to generate new ideas for pictures and develop unique photography strategies. This helps them work with clients who want less traditional wedding photos.

  • Physical stamina: A wedding photographer may rely on their physical stamina to complete their professional responsibilities. This career often requires them to be on their feet for long periods of time to take pictures throughout an entire day.

  • Collaboration: Wedding photographs may work together with wedding planners to coordinate their efforts. Because of this, it's important for these professionals to have skills in collaboration and teamwork.

  • Attention to detail: A wedding photographer's attention to detail helps them coordinate each aspect of a photo. This helps them ensure they catch any details of a photoshoot that may be out of place.

Explore more articles